South Africa's Parliament was told on Friday (29 February) that black attitudes towards whites are no better and in some cases are worse than before the 976 Soweto riots which triggered violence and unrest throughout the country.
GV PAN: Cape Town with Table Mountain in background
SV: Parliament building in Cape Town.
SV: Parliamentarian Mrs Helen Suzman speaking.
SV: Uniformed guard outside gates.
SV: Soweto Committee Chairman, Dr. Nthato Motlana speaking.
TRANSCRIPT: SUZMAN: "I think the man drawbacks are "a" that the Commission's terms of reference did not include making recommendations and secondly, the fact that so few young blacks, actually gave evidence to the Commission."
REPORTER: "The Commission has directly laid the blame on officials for the unrest. Do you not think that this is avoiding the real conditions which gave rise to the events?"
SUZMAN: "Well I have two thoughts about that question. The first is of course that they've laid the responsibility, I believe, at the wrong, at the wrong feet of the wrong people. I t should not be the officials who take the blame for this, despite the obvious bungling and maladministration that went on in the department of what was then known as Bantu Education. But obviously, the responsibility for what happened in Soweto should rest fairly and squarely at the feet of the Minister, the then Deputy Minister of Bantu Education, Doctor Treurnicht. He was warned that there was warned that there was tremendous resentment and hostility against the whole idea of using the Afrikaans language as a teaching medium in the Soweto high schools. Now I don't for one moment believe that this was the only reason for the unrest, but there's no doubt his was the spark that set the tinder box alight, and he should have know it. He was warned. He ignored the warning and therefore he should take the rap for it. In other words, he really should resign from his present Cabinet job."
MOTLANA: "If I may say so, I want to say quite boldly, that I've no doubt in my own mind that if the police, undisciplined as they seem to be, had not panicked and shot into a crowd of innocent children, who were manhandling dog, and they shot both children and shot to kill. That those (indistinct) would not have taken that kind of complexion that they took. I blame the police, in the continuation of the riots. And I was there. I saw police behaviour. It was quite unbelievable. Undisciplined. And anybody who wants to remove blame from (indistinct) policemen, is doing this country a major disservice."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: South Africa's Parliament was told on Friday (29 February) that black attitudes towards whites are no better and in some cases are worse than before the 976 Soweto riots which triggered violence and unrest throughout the country. The claim is made in the 12-hundred page Cillie Commission Report on the aftermath of the riots which lasted eight months. The report, which took three years to prepare, is the result of an inquiry headed by Mr. Justice Petrus Cillie, a Supreme Court judge appointed by the government at the height of the trouble.
SYNOPSIS: The Soweto settlements outside Cape town is where the unrest flared, followed by violence in which the report says 575 people were killed -- the first official figure to be released. Opposition parliamentarian, Mrs. Helen Suzman, does not like the report.
Doctor Nthato Motlana, Chairman of the Soweto Committee of Ten, also is unimpressed.